Connie Flynn University of Highlands & Islands, Shetland 2013 The Conference Student Bursary

I am extremely grateful and delighted to be awarded a bursary which was funded by Maney Publishers to attend The Costume Society Symposium on Accessories in Norwich July 2013.
The Symposium was very well organized with a valuable and varied programme including museum visits, many academic papers presented on a wide range of subjects relating to accessories, a chance to see current student’s work and finally an accessary fund raising event. The experience was rich in content.
One of the most valuable aspects of the conference was having the opportunity to hear about some fascinating current research in the field by the enthusiastic speakers, also the chance to speak to others about their work and interests. It is difficult for me to choose one subjects as there were many I found particularly interesting, from Bethan Bide’s talk on ‘The shoes as a Protective Symbol during the London Blitz’ to the ideas on ‘The Shifting Shawl 1800-1914’ by Jenny Lister and Sonia Ashmore, inspirational thoughts on ‘Not forgetting His Perfumed Glove’ by Christine Griffiths to Glenda Haseler’s talk on ‘Opera Cloaks – Functional, Frivolous and Fabulous’ on Wimbledon College of Art’s very own collection, and finally ‘The Changing Forms and Fortune of the Apron’ by Prof Vailja Evalds which provoked different ideas.
It was a treat to have a taster to see and hear about the costume stores at Norwich Castle Museum, especially seeing the beautiful Norwich shawls. This is a subject I hope to develop in my own research. As well as using a variety of concepts in my own Textile practice. I feel the experience has broadened my awareness of the diversity of accessories with regards to function and decorations, fashion and branding.
I enjoyed and appreciated the Student Design Award presentations of excellent contemporary work by local students from Norwich University of the Arts. Their brief was ‘to think differently about accessories’, with the idea of transformation from one accessory to another. This concept was evident in all the presentations. In contrast was the more traditional Pattern of Fashion Award, which was open to students studying costume making. The brief was to reconstruct a garment from Janet Arnold’s a Pattern for Fashion book. Once again the work was excellent and Alistair McArthur Head of Costume at Royal Shakespeare Company had a rather difficult task judging the award.
I am very grateful to the members of the Costume Society committee present who were so welcoming and I hope to be able to participate in further Costume Society events in the future.
Much appreciation goes to Maney Publisher for funding the Bursary.

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